Sunday, January 25, 2009

Made me want to rescue them myelf

As a mom I like to think I make good decisions under emotional distress, for me and my family. I like to think that. Of course my kids love to point out and rehash my bad decisions in excruciating detail. Yesterday, for example, when my son said to me, "Mommy, do you want to find these things or do you want to just talk about it and make a really big deal?" They made a drum set out of the parts of a bookshelf, and then lost the pieces when I finally sat down to build it. I just wanted them to learn their lesson. Okay, he had a point. Fortunately, I don't think I've made any drastically bad decisions, and even more fortunate is I haven't really be faced with something too traumatic.

This is unlike the (fictional) family in a book I recently got to read through Silicon Valley Moms blog. In Who By Fire by Diana Spechler, a family is dealing with a horrible tragedy, one of the children is kidnapped when the kids are young. The kids are now young adults in the book, and the author shows us their lives from their own and their mom's perspective. Bits seems to use sex, which she began at the age of 10, as her method of escape and probably punishment, as she seems bitterly miserable. Ash blames himself and has retreated to a Yeshiva in Israel, living as an Orthodox Jew and their mom wants him back, feels it's her right to want her two remaining children by her side. The plot revolves around Bits flying to Israel to rescue her brother while the mom tries other methods to get her son back.

I though the characters were wonderfully and interestingly portrayed. I kept wanting to reach in and tell Bits not to sleep with that guy, not to lie, try to understand her brother a bit better. And if Ash wanted to immerse himself in the constant trials of an Orthodox Jew, couldn't he at least call his mother? (really sound like a Jewish mother there, huh?). And the mom, come on, listen to your sister, get yourself a life beyond your children. I admit one of the reasons I enjoyed it was I never felt the author was trying to get me to relate to the story, she was just telling a story. It wasn't a mom trying to find balance or a chick looking for love, but I certainly saw the characters as living in the realm of possibility. On the other hand, I can't say I know how I or my mom would react if something like this were to happen. I'm pretty sure my mom would see where Ash is as no different than a cult. She had to provide some tough love to both my brother and sister when they were teens.
This book was a little painful to read at points, but I do like a happy ending these days. Might be a little too pat at the end, but the struggles still remain for this troubled family. I can't imagine what I would do if anything happened to my little guys, but I'm in a good enough space, for now, that I don't mind reading about it.
It's book club time over at Silicon Valley Moms again. As another blogger said, that's the only kind of book club that lasts, the virtual kind, that is. Check out the post and join the discussion on LA Moms Blog, and you'll also find links to posts by fabulous bloggers over there.

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